MIST is a 30-minute, heart-pounding, free-roaming, scavenger hunt–style immersive adventure.
“OK…what?” That was our initial reaction when we first heard about Sinister Pointe’s brand new, totally unique concept for their 2019 Halloween attraction. A “free-roaming” haunt in a large space filled with fog didn’t sound that great, honestly. Haunts these days are becoming so sophisticated with tons of technology, movie-quality sets, and fully realized back stories. Mist sounded just too simplistic, especially from Sinister Pointe, who has such a long history of creating great Halloween events, not only their own but for other outlets as well.
We wondered, Is this even a haunt? Will this concept work? Will it be worth the ticket cost? Will it even be scary? And we’re happy to report that the answer to these questions is a definite “YES.”
MIST is located in an abandoned department store in the Westminster Mall. Groups of about 30 people are let in for each half-hour scavenger hunt game. There’s a short introduction and explanation of the game, and only a very limited back story given about finding some uncle or other’s lost artifacts in an abandoned town. Everyone is given a map (which is roughly drawn and not all that helpful) that also contains the list of 13 artifacts that are to be found. Oh, and there is the potential of winning actual, real-life prizes. Anyone finding all 13 will be entered into a raffle to win things like a Nintendo Switch, Samsung TV, and Disneyland Park Hopper tickets.
Once the game begins, everyone splits into their own groups to begin the search for the relics. The space is dimly lit with colored lights and a HUGE amount of fog. The experience is called “Mist,” and yeah, it’s pretty damn misty in there. There are a collection of scenes and sets to explore that make up the abandoned village, including such varied settings as a church, storefront, bedroom, and even a chicken coop. There are no flashlights given, but small electric candles are scattered throughout the sets to help you find a way and (hopefully) find the artifact in that set.
Some artifacts are much easier to find than others, and we did get help once from a scareactor. Oh yeah…did we mention the scareactors? These creatures–called “The See’ers”–lurk in the shadows, jumping out of the fog at just the right time to completely catch you off guard. And because your focus is on the game and finding the artifacts, the scares are very surprising and got us good several times. There were actors not only free roaming around the entire space but also hiding within the sets, which increased the pressure on us to find the relic and get the hell out of that scene.
Although we didn’t find all the artifacts (we had just a few left when the siren sounded), we we were told that at least one group that night had found them all and earned a raffle ticket. So it’s definitely not impossible. There’s even a $13 “reentry” ticket option available if you want to try again (we were really tempted by this option!).
We were very impressed with how well executed the experience was, especially given that it was opening night and an entirely new concept. We had a complete blast exploring the fog-filled space, getting scared, and frantically searching for the artifacts. We expect that the event will get even better as the month goes on, as the crew seemed very interested in getting feedback on the guest experience, which is a great sign. Although a large group of 30 people is let in at once, the space inside is actually very large, and we were often completely alone inside a scene and ran into other groups only occasionally. This really enhanced the game itself as well as the scare factor.
Finally, we feel that MIST is a perfect experience for younger haunt fans and kids who want to experience a fun and spooky event this Halloween. Although the website says it’s for those “13 and older,” we think kids as young as 8 years old would have a blast. There is no gore or sex, and the scares are completely startle-type scares. And the scavenger hunt element makes this a thoroughly enjoyable Halloween outing for a family with kids of most ages.
Terror Tips and Information
No, we’re not going to tell you where to find the artifacts, but we’ll let you know some important info.
Timed tickets are sold online by the hour. Although we didn’t buy our tickets online, we definitely suggest doing so to avoid long waits or even sellouts as it gets closer to Halloween.
You will be asked to leave all loose items in your car–follow this advice! You will be moving quickly the entire time, and purses, bags, and carrying a jacket will only slow you down. They do offer a locker before the game begins, but it’s just one big locker per group of 30 that’s watched by an employee but isn’t actually locked. They also ask that you leave your cellphone behind, but if you keep it turned off and secured in your pocket, you should be fine.
Although there are “multiple prizes” available, we’re not sure how many or what the entire list is. Honestly, the prizes were not much of a motivator for us–the game itself has enough of an intrinsic driver to find the artifacts just for the sense of accomplishment. But some of the teenagers seemed very interested in winning the Switch.
Finally, there is a definite strategy to this game. Increasing your chance at winning the prize also means decreasing everyone else’s chance. So don’t leave your candle sitting right next to the last artifact you found. We also heard some groups shouting things like “we found it!” Don’t do this. The game is (thoughtfully) set up so you can’t actually hide any artifacts from someone else, but you don’t have to give them any extra hints.
We had a great time at Sinister Pointe’s MIST. We were completely engrossed in the game, while getting spooked by the See’ers around every corner. Our half-hour went by way too quickly. We highly recommend that haunt fans check out this new event, which is unlike anything else offered this Halloween season.